How To Navigate Your Divorce Settlement

How To Navigate Your Divorce Settlement

Everything seemed so simple at the start of your romance; you never expected divorce to be such a difficult process. Even in the best of circumstances, tempers may run high, and every decision can seem to be more stressful than the last. It is only human to find yourself reacting emotionally at certain stages of a divorce, but it is important to remember that your actions throughout the process can affect your familial, emotional, and financial situation for years to come.

The Divorce Process: What to Do

• Be reasonable and cooperate as much as possible with your soon-to-be-ex. Reasonable compromise yields quicker and easier results in divorce cases.

• Support your children through this process. It’s even tougher on them than on you. Don’t make them pick sides.

• Let your spouse know when and where you will spend time with your kids while you work out permanent custody arrangements. Your spouse might think you’ve made a run for the border and if your soon-to-be-ex has to ask the police to track you down, that won’t look good during custody or visitation hearings.

• Fully disclose all your assets and property. A court can throw out a divorce decree based on financial deception, putting you back in court years after you thought everything was final.

• Know your options. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for a non-divorce alternative like summary dissolution, annulment, or legal separation.

• Do your own research. With a little help, you can be well-informed regarding:
Where to file for divorce and what divorce forms you need;

• Child custody;

• Child support;

• Spousal support (alimony); and

• Divorce trials, alternative dispute resolution, and out-of-court settlements.

• Ask your attorney if anything doesn’t make sense. Your attorney works for you, and should help you understand every part of the divorce process.

The Divorce Process: What Not to Do

• Don’t lose your cool. No matter how frustrated you get, don’t make matters worse by lashing out at your ex or your children.

• Don’t make big plans to take a job in another state or move out of the country until your divorce is final. Your new life could interfere with getting your divorce finalized.

• Don’t violate any temporary custody or visitation arrangements. It could make it tougher for you to get the custody or visitation rights you prefer.

• Don’t “give away” property to friends or relatives and arrange to get it back later. Hiding property can mean your spouse can take you back to court to settle those assets.

• Don’t go it alone. Divorce is complicated, and an attorney can make sure that your interests are protected.

How To Settle Divorce Out Of Court

Going through a divorce is always stressful, but you can save money, time, and worry by entering into a settlement agreement instead of going to Court. Whether you have spousal maintenance (“alimony”), child support, parenting time, legal decision-making or marital property issues, you are allowed to work out an agreement with your spouse so that you do not have to spend weeks, months, or even years fighting it out in the legal system. You can enter into a divorce agreement at any time up until, or even at your final hearing, without any penalty or pressure from the Court. While the judge is willing to hear your divorce case and decide the issues for you, the Court will accept a reasonable divorce settlement agreement instead. In fact, the judge will be happy that you have saved judicial resources by taking care of matters yourselves.

Steps to Settling A Divorce Out of Court

You will need to complete some basic tasks in order to come up with a fair settlement agreement because you will need to figure out how to deal with property division, caring for your children, spousal maintenance, and other important factors. If you are patient and go through the divorce process one step at a time, you can get through your divorce case and move on with your life.

Step 1: Speak to a Divorce Lawyer

Even if your split is amicable, you should seek legal advice from the beginning of the divorce process. The Court will hold you responsible for following all the rules, whether or not you are using a divorce attorney for advice. You could be penalized or even have your case dismissed because you missed a deadline. Having an attorney on your side will also help keep you focused and feeling stronger during the divorce process. As far as basic legal tasks, you will still need to file a divorce petition and any other paperwork required by state law, such as a child support worksheet. Your attorney can help by preparing the paperwork and making sure it follows your wishes.

Step 2: Schedule Some Time to Talk to Your Spouse

Meet in a neutral place and have an honest, calm discussion about what you want from the divorce. There may be issues that are more important to you than your spouse, and vice versa. Finding a place to meet in the middle will give you a good place to start negotiating. Although, this may not be appropriate if there are instances of abuse. On another note, be careful of signing or otherwise entering into any agreements before you fully understand the impact of those agreements. It is perfectly acceptable to review the proposals with an attorney before reaching an agreement.

Step 3: Gather All Your Financial Information

You will need to have all of your financial information to consider child support, spousal maintenance, property division, and possibly other important matters. Your divorce attorney can assist you in finding all the documents you need and figuring out how to make a plan based on your personal financial information.

Step 4: Create a Parenting Plan

If you have children, they are probably your biggest priority. What should the parenting time schedule be? Can you get along well enough to co-parent? How much will child support be? Your divorce attorney or child support attorney can help you fill out the child support worksheet with the necessary information. There are several factors to consider when calculating child support. Family law attorneys are familiar with all the issues regarding divorce laws, and they can help to find a plan that will fit your family’s needs.

Step 5: Work With a Mediator Or Other Alternative Dispute Resolution If You Need To

If you don’t agree with what your soon-to-be ex-spouse is proposing, you don’t have to sign the agreement. There are other steps you can take so you can still avoid a court divorce. If you simply can’t agree even after honest negotiations, you can agree to have a neutral third party help you work out the issues in a mediation process. There is more than one type of alternative dispute resolution, and your divorce attorney can help you figure out which one might help you the most.

Step 6: Submit Your Divorce Agreement to the Court

Once you have an agreement, you and your spouse can sign it with your attorneys and present it to the judge. The agreement is a contract, and once signed, you will likely be bound by it. The judge will then review the decree to ensure it meets all applicable state laws and then enter the agreement as a final court order.

Benefits Of Settling Out of Court

Not all divorcing couples are able to look past their anger and work out their issues. Even with a neutral third party to help negotiate the issues, some couples simply can’t reach common ground. Some of the hardest cases are ones where there has been infidelity or domestic violence. However, for those who are able to enter into a settlement agreement, there are multiple benefits and rarely a downside.

You Will Save Time By Entering Into an Agreement

When couples choose to fight in the courts to get what they want from the remnants of their marriage, the divorce process can drag on for months or even years. Parties on each side can end up in an endless loop of filing and responding to paperwork. Instead of getting to the end of the process, you may feel as though you are in an endless state of waiting.

You Will Save Money

Every time your attorney files or response to paperwork, you will pay the legal fees for that service. You will also pay for court hearings and any other work your attorney has to do on your behalf. When the process finally ends in a divorce trial, you may have spent several thousand dollars. Out-of-court settlements are much less expensive than court divorces.

A Mutual Agreement Will Cut Down On Stress

One of the biggest benefits of an uncontested divorce is that you will feel less pressure and stress. You can make a commitment at the beginning to work out your issues, and if you work through your issues in good faith, you will avoid many of the negative feelings people associate with divorce.

You Will Have the Satisfaction of Knowing You Worked Out Your Own Issues

Getting divorced can feel like giving up. When you work through your issues with your ex-spouse, you can feel the satisfaction of knowing that you have managed to handle issues that looked overwhelming in the beginning. You can start to reclaim the power you feel you lost when your marriage broke up.

Going to Court Can Be Unpredictable

Even if the issues seem cut and dry, you are always taking a chance when you go to Court. A judge can be unpredictable. If you have already negotiated a fair settlement, you will know what to expect.

Types of Divorce

Although most people don’t get the opportunity to thoughtfully decide which type of divorce they would like to have, there are options for those willing to work together. For example, in an uncontested divorce, both parties come to an agreement on all the terms of the divorce and file the papers with the court. There is usually no formal trial in this scenario. An uncontested divorce can be much less expensive than a contested divorce, saving you time, court costs and legal fees, as well as helping you avoid protracted disputes with your spouse.

Contested divorces are what stereotypically come to mind when we think of divorce. These are cases in which there’s a lot of disagreement over key areas such as property, children and spousal support. Each spouse is represented by an attorney, and a judge oversees the case until settlement. This type of divorce can be long, costly and potentially contentious.

Others types of divorce fall somewhere in the middle. Mediation, arbitration and collaborative options allow the couple to be independently represented by counsel without incurring the full costs of a trial. The option that will work best for any couple depends on the level of disagreements between the spouses and the willingness to work together toward a resolution.

Property Division

Property division is a big issue during a divorce. One of the most common questions is, “Who gets the house?” State law will usually dictates the divvying up of your property. It’s based on whether you reside in a separate property state or a community property state:

• Separate property belongs only to one spouse, such as something you owned before getting married, gifts or inheritances specifically given to you or the proceeds of a pension that vested before the marriage.

• Community property is everything that both of you earned and acquired during your marriage (e.g., the money from your job that you placed into a joint checking account and used to pay bills or debts during your marriage). Property like a house bought with a combination of separate and community funds is generally considered community property.

Dividing Up Property Yourselves

If you and your spouse are going to try to divide your property yourselves, here are some steps to get you started:

• List your belongings. Working together, makes a list of all of the items that you own jointly. Of course, you can omit items both of you agree are personal things of insignificant value.

• Value the property. Try to agree on the value of anything worth more than a specific agreed amount, say $100 or $500. If there is a house, a business or anything that’s difficult to value, get an opinion about that from some agreed-upon outside authority.

• Decide on the logical owner. Now go through your main list, item by item, and decide whether there is some good reason to have each piece of property go to one or the other of you. Start with the biggest value items and see how far you can get.

• Get the judge’s approval. If you and your spouse can agree on dividing the property you own together, the court will normally approve whatever agreement you’ve reached. The only exception is when a party who doesn’t have a lawyer seems to have agreed to take a lot less than half of the property.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506
Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews

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Divorce Alternatives

Are you and your spouse having problems? Are you considering divorce? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you may be surprised to learn that there are alternatives to traditional and often contentious divorce. For many couples who wish to separate, uncontested divorce is the answer.

Divorce Alternatives

Yet for others, the following alternatives are more appropriate:

  • Legal Separation

    If you and your spouse are having problems, but you are not ready for divorce, separation may be a more suitable option. Separation is also good for couples who wish to retain the financial and insurance benefits of being married.

  • Mediation

     One of the features that make mediation so attractive to couples who wish to divorce is the fact that it takes place in a relaxing environment, instead of a courtroom. Mediation also relies on the assistance of a third party mediator. This person helps couples stay focused on the issues at hand, but also acts neutrally. The process of mediation takes place over several short sessions where couples work at coming to mutually beneficial terms. Mediation is more cost-effective and less time-consuming than traditional divorce.

  • Collaborative divorce

     A large number of couples who wish to dissolve their marriage are turning to collaborative divorce. At first glance, it appears similar to mediation. It deviates from mediation by relying on a participation agreement. This agreement binds each spouse and his or her respective attorney from taking legal action. If the collaborative process fails, the legal counsel of each party must resign and each spouse must retain new counsel for litigation.

An annulment might also be an option if you qualify.

Understanding ‘Equitable Division of Property’ in Utah

Like in most other states, Utah law calls for the equitable division of marital property when a couple gets divorced. It’s important to note that “equitable” is not the same as “equal,” although it can be in some situations. The focus is on creating a property division arrangement that is fair, taking into account what each spouse contributed financially to the marriage and what each spouse needs to maintain a reasonable standard of living in the future.

Utah used to be a “common law property” state, in which the property owned by either spouse was distributed according to how the property was titled. If only one name appeared on the title, that person would receive the property outright.

An equitable division arrangement can be much more complex and takes into consideration a greater variety of factors. These include the following:

  •  The income of each spouse
  •  The property each spouse owned at the time of marriage and divorce
  •  Each spouse’s health and age
  •  One parent’s need to live in the family home or use property inside of it
  •  Either spouse’s potential lost pension, insurance or inheritance rights stemming from the divorce
  •  Whether the court awarded spousal maintenance
  •  Whether either spouse has a claim to marital property to which the spouse does not have the title
  •  The financial circumstances of each spouse coming out of the divorce
  •  The overall character of marital property (liquid versus non-liquid)
  •  Whether either spouse has purposefully wasted marital assets during the divorce
  •  Whether either spouse transferred marital property to other people or accounts in anticipation of divorce
  •  Any other factor the court believes to be relevant

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews

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10 Ways Your Spouse Can Hide Money in Divorce

Is your spouse hiding money from you? The ten areas listed below have been used many times. If your spouse has lied to you about money issues, there’s a good chance your spouse is hiding money through his or her employment.

Many divorcing spouses that will likely have to pay alimony or support complain about their poor financial situation in the hopes of persuading the other spouse, their lawyer and the court that they simply have no money.

10 Ways Your Spouse Can Hide Money in Divorce

Income Tricks in Divorce

If you believe your spouse is hiding money in an effort to lower child support and alimony awards, you and your attorney should work to uncover hidden income and assets and to prove the actual amount of money available for purposes of support and alimony. The categories listed below will give you a starting point for finding hidden income and assets.

1. Salary deferred until after the divorce

Your spouse may defer a portion of salary until after the divorce. Look for letters or notes asking someone to defer your spouse’s income. The past history of your spouse’s earnings could also be very telling. If your spouse is accustomed to receiving $50,000 per year in commissions and is suddenly not receiving any, this is a suspicious fact that your attorney can use.

2. Expense accounts and other “perks”

“Perks” refer to benefits over and above direct compensation that a company may offer its employees. Some companies offer very little to no perks, while the perquisites of other companies are so valuable that they almost equal the salary being paid. Some common perks are as follows:

(a) A company car for personal use

(b) Paid parking space

Some companies pay all or a portion of their employees’ monthly parking rates.

(c) An expense account

Expense accounts range from small to large. Your spouse may have an expense account to take customers to fancy restaurants, sporting events, or other functions. Look at the documents to see whether you spouse is taking clients to inexpensive restaurants and keeping a portion of the weekly expense account for him/herself. Your spouse may charge all or most meals to his/her employer, but list them as an expense in the divorce.

(d) Meal allowance

(e) Clothing and uniform allowance

3. Bonuses

Some employees receive bonuses in addition to their net pay. Look for deals where partial bonuses are paid and the other portion is put into a separate account accruing to the benefit of the employee. Bonuses can be deferred for future distribution. Look for a pattern of bonus payments in the past.

4. Vacation or business trip

Does your spouse’s employer pay for days at hotels when the business part of the trip has been completed? Some employees are allowed to take their spouses on business trips. Check to see whether your spouse took someone else a guest.

5. Vacation pay

If your spouse gets four weeks vacation and only takes two weeks off, he or she may be entiitled to two weeks of additional pay.

6. Sick days/personal days

If your spouse doesn’t use personal or sick days, he or she may get paid for the unused days.

7. Stock options

A stock option is the right to buy stock in a company at a reduced rate. If your spouse exercised employee option(s), he or she may be sitting on valuable assets of which you are not aware.

8. Country club and health club

Your spouse’s employer may be paying for these expenses.

9. Loans

A common way divorcing spouses increase debts and look “poor,” is to create a loan with a friend, employer, or family member. The loan may be a sham, which never has to be paid back, but it will be listed as a debt in the divorce.

10. Special arrangements with employer

Look for possible signs that your spouse may have a special arrangement with his or her employer. For example, your spouse’s employer may pay your spouse a percentage of the company’s profits. Also, try to confirm whether your spouse actually owns a percentage of the company and is, therefore, not an employee but an owner or partner who is entitled to additional profits or returns.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews

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Utah Divorce

If you are getting divorced in Utah, make sure you have a good divorce lawyer on your side. Do you know what property you get to keep and what you have to split with your spouse? You may also have questions about who will be responsible for the marital debt.

Utah Divorce

Equitable Division of Property in Utah Divorce

Utah is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the marital property will be divided between spouses in a way that is equitable, or fair. The court decides what’s fair based on a set of factors that show what each of you contributed to the marriage and what each spouse will need to move forward after divorce. The division does not have to be equal to be considered fair.

The court will be involved in the division only if you could not work together with your spouse to resolve your property disputes. Throughout the divorce process, you will have opportunities to decide with your spouse how you want to split your property between yourselves. The court will usually accept a written separation agreement on how you want to divide your property. It is only if you cannot reach a compromise with your spouse that the court will step in and divide your property for you.

Marital Property Will be Divided

Before the court can divide your property, it needs to know which property belongs to the marriage, which belongs to each spouse separately, and how much there is of each. Generally, marital property is all property acquired or earned during the marriage, regardless of what the title says. Separate property is property you owned before marriage. It also includes some property you receive during marriage, like a gift, an inheritance, or personal injury award to you alone. If you exchange your separate property for new property during marriage, then that new property remains yours alone. There are circumstances, however, when an increase in the value of your separate property will be characterized as marital property.

For example, if you owned a vacation home before marriage that your spouse updated and remodeled during marriage, then the increase in that house’s value is marital property because it comes from your spouse’s efforts. On the other hand, if you bought an apartment in an up-and-coming neighborhood before marriage and it improves in value during the marriage simply because the rest of the homes in the area do the same, then that increase in value remains your separate property.

At divorce, the court divides only the marital property. It can’t award any property that was yours alone before or during marriage to your spouse. It can, however, consider all your financial resources – both your share of the marital property and your separate property – when deciding how much spousal maintenance (alimony) to award, if any.

Factors Considered in Dividing Marital Property

The types of property commonly divided at divorce are real property like the family home, personal property like jewelry, and intangible property like income, benefits, and debts. The court treats debts the same as any other real, personal, or intangible property. Before dividing an asset or debt, the court will have to characterize it as either marital or separate and then assign ownership or responsibility for it based on a set of factors designed to give an equitable result.

These factors include the length of the marriage; each spouse’s age, health, income, potential earnings or future financial circumstances; and property. The court also looks at how each spouse contributed to the acquisition of marital property and, for these purposes, the court treats a spouse’s efforts as a homemaker the same as monetary contributions. For the family home, if you have custody of your children, then you have a better chance of keeping that property, or at least the right to live there while you raise the children.

In addition to any other factor that might be relevant to the particular circumstances of your marriage, the court specifically considers what the spouses may have lost at divorce, such as an interest in an inheritance, pension rights, or health insurance. It also evaluates future losses the spouses face in terms of taxes.

Some assets aren’t easy to divide between two people. Something like cash, which is very liquid, can easily be split between the spouses. But an interest in a business isn’t as easy to divide. The court has the option to order a distributive award – a payment to balance out an uneven distribution of property – if it is impractical to divide a substantial asset.

Although fault in causing the marriage to fail is not part of the calculation, the court can award less of the marital property to you if you wasted marital assets. You can’t spend marital funds flying your lover to Paris, for example, without having to pay for it later. Likewise, you can’t sell, transfer, or otherwise encumber property in anticipation of your divorce. If you do, the court can penalize you for it during the division.

Spousal Maintenance Determination in Utah Divorce

Spousal maintenance is a payment from one spouse to the other to help sustain the recipient spouse after divorce. Similar to the division of property, the court’s order for spousal maintenance must be equitable. Payments can be periodic (monthly, for example) or in a lump sum, and for a set or indefinite period of time. A spouse can request temporary maintenance payments during the divorce process, the amount of which will be based on specific income guidelines.

When the court orders the divorce and the property has been divided, the court can also make a permanent maintenance award. In Utah, an award for spousal maintenance is based on many of the same factors as the division of property. Some other factors include the spouses’ level of education and earning capacity, the marital standard of living, and the needs of any children. The court also considers domestic violence during the marriage, which may have kept the battered spouse from seeking or improving employment. The court is also free to look at any factor relevant to the award of maintenance, such as a spouse’s ability to pay.

Divorce in Utah is sometimes also referred to as a Dissolution of Marriage and is conducted as a civil action, with one party, the Petitioner, filing a Petition for divorce, and the other party being named as a Respondent. To file for divorce in Utah, either spouse must be a bona fide resident of the state and must have lived in the county of filing for the three months immediately preceding commencement of the action. The Petition may be filed in the district court of the county where either spouse resides. If the Petitioner is a member of the armed forces of the U.S. who are not legal residents of this state, he/she may file for divorce if he has been stationed in the state for the three months immediately preceding the commencement of the action. No hearing for decree of divorce may generally be held until 90 days have elapsed from the filing of the complaint, provided the court may make interim orders that are just and equitable. The 90-day period shall not apply, however, in any case where both parties have completed the mandatory education course for divorcing parents. Although there are no statutory provisions for the restoration of a spouse’s name when divorcing, either spouse may request that his/her former name be restored on the Petition or the judge will honor the request.

Legal Grounds for Divorce

The court may decree dissolution of marriage for any of the following grounds:
• Impotency of the Respondent at the time of the marriage;
• Adultery committed by the Respondent after entering into the marriage;
• Willful desertion of the Petitioner by the Respondent for more than one year;
• Willful neglect of the Respondent to provide for the Petitioner the common necessities of life;
• Habitual drunkenness of the Respondent;
• Conviction of the Respondent for a felony;
• Cruel treatment of the Petitioner by the Respondent to the extent of causing bodily injury or great mental distress to the Petitioner;
• Irreconcilable differences of the marriage;
• Incurable insanity; or
• The spouses have lived separately under a decree of separate maintenance of any state for three consecutive years without cohabitation.

Should I Get An Annulment Instead Of A Divorce?

Maybe. The following are prohibited and void marriages and they may be annulled for these causes:
• Marriages between parents and children;
• Marriages between ancestors and descendants of every degree;
• Marriages between brothers and sisters (half or whole);
• Marriages between uncles and nieces or aunts and nephews;
• Marriages between first cousins (unless both parties are 65 years of age or older, or if both parties are 55 years of age or older, upon a finding by the court that either party is unable to reproduce);
• Marriages between any persons related to each other within and not including fifth degree of consanguinity;
• When there is a husband or wife living, from whom the person marrying has not been divorced;
• Either party is at least 16, but under 18 years of age and has not obtained parental consent;
• Either party is under 16 years of age at the time the parties attempt to enter into the marriage, unless the party is 15 years of age and has obtained judicial consent;
• Marriage between persons of the same sex; and
• Re-marriage to a different spouse before the divorce decree becomes absolute, or in the case of an appeal, before the affirmance of the decree.
When there is doubt regarding the validity of a marriage, either party may demand its avoidance or affirmance in a court where either party is domiciled. However, when one of the parties was under the age of consent at the time of the marriage, the other party of proper age may not have cause against the party under age. The court shall either declare the marriage valid or annulled. A marriage may also be annulled for any of the annulment grounds existing at common law.

Property Division In A Utah Divorce

In all dissolution and separate maintenance actions, the court and judge have jurisdiction over the distribution of property. Utah is an equitable distribution state. Therefore, marital property shall be distributed fairly and equitably. The court shall include the following in every decree of divorce:

• An order specifying which party is responsible for the payment of joint debts, obligations, or liabilities of the parties contracted or incurred during marriage;
• An order requiring the parties to notify respective creditors or obliges, regarding the court’s division of debts, obligations, or liabilities and regarding the parties’ separate current addresses;
• Provisions for the enforcement of these orders; and
• Provisions for income withholding.
When a marriage of long duration dissolves on the threshold of a major change in the income of one of the spouses due to the collective efforts of both, that change shall be considered in dividing the marital property. If one spouse’s earning capacity has been greatly enhanced through the efforts of both spouses during the marriage, the court may make a compensating adjustment in dividing the marital property.

How Much Will I Have To Pay In Alimony And Support Payments?

In all dissolution and separate maintenance actions, the court and judge have jurisdiction over the payment of alimony.
When determining alimony, the court shall consider, at a minimum, the following factors:
• The financial condition and needs of the requesting spouse;
• The requesting spouse’s earning capacity or ability to produce income;
• The ability of the paying spouse to provide support;
• The length of the marriage
• Whether the requesting spouse has custody of minor children requiring support;
• Whether the requesting spouse worked in a business owned or operated by the paying spouse; and
• Whether the requesting spouse directly contributed to any increase in the paying spouse’s skill by paying for education received by the paying spouse or allowing the paying spouse to attend school during the marriage.
The court may consider the fault of the parties when making its determination regarding alimony. When a marriage of long duration dissolves on the threshold of a major change in the income of one of the spouses due to the collective efforts of both, that change shall be considered in determining the amount of alimony. If one spouse’s earning capacity has been greatly enhanced through the efforts of both spouses during the marriage, the court may make a compensating adjustment in awarding alimony. In determining alimony when a marriage of short duration dissolves, and no children have been conceived or born during the marriage, the court may consider restoring each party to the condition which existed at the time of the marriage. Alimony may not be ordered for a duration longer than the number of years that the marriage existed unless, at any time prior to termination of alimony, the court finds extenuating circumstances that justify the payment of alimony for a longer period of time. Unless otherwise stated in the divorce decree, any order for payment of alimony to a former spouse automatically ends upon the remarriage or death of that former spouse, unless the remarriage is annulled and found to be void. In that case, alimony shall resume, provided that the paying spouse was made a party to the action of annulment and his/her rights have been determined. Any order for payment of alimony to a former spouse terminates upon establishment by the paying party that the former spouse is cohabitating with another person.

Child Custody and Support

In all dissolution and separate maintenance actions, the court and judge have jurisdiction over the custody and maintenance of minor children. The court shall consider joint custody in every case, but may award any form of custody which is determined to be in the best interest of the child. If the court finds that one parent does not desire custody of the child, it shall take that evidence into consideration in determining whether to award custody to the other parent. In determining whether the best interest of a child will be served by ordering joint legal or physical custody, the court shall consider the following factors:
• Whether the physical, psychological and emotional needs and development of the child will benefit from joint legal or physical custody;
• The ability of the parents to give first priority to the welfare of the child and reach shared decisions in the child’s best interest;
• Whether each parent is capable of encouraging and accepting a positive relationship between the child and the other parent, including the sharing of love, affection and contact between the child and the other parent;
• Whether both parents participated in raising the child before the divorce;
• The geographical proximity of the homes of the parents;
• The preference of the child if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent preference as to joint legal or physical custody;
• The maturity of the parents and their willingness and ability to protect the child from conflict that may arise between the parents;
• The past and present ability of the parents to cooperate with each other and make decisions jointly;
• Any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnapping; and any other factors the court finds relevant.
When determining any form of custody, in addition to the aforementioned criteria, the court shall consider the best interests of the child, the following factors, and any others the court finds relevant:
• The past conduct and demonstrated moral standards of each of the parties;
• Which parent is most likely to act in the best interest of the child, including allowing the child frequent and continuing contact with the non-custodial parent; and
• The extent of bonding between the parent and child, meaning the depth, quality, and nature of the relationship between a parent and child.
The court may inquire of the children and take into consideration the children’s desires regarding future custody or parent-time schedules but the expressed desires are not controlling and the court may determine the children’s custody or parent-time otherwise. The desires of a child 16 years of age or older shall be given added weight, but is not the single controlling factor.

Legal Separation and Separate Maintenance

A Petitioner may file an action for a temporary separation order without filing a Petition for Divorce, by filing a Petition for Temporary Separation and a Motion for Temporary Orders if the spouses are lawfully married and both have been residents of the state for at least 90 days prior to the date of filing. The temporary orders are valid for one year from the date of the hearing, or until either a Petition for Divorce is filed and consolidated with the temporary separation Petition, or the case is dismissed.

Separate Maintenance

In a legal separation, the parties live separately, but remain spouses legally married to one another. The couple’s rights and duties to one another are set forth in a Decree of Legal Separation, which covers such matters as custody and child support, spousal support, division of property and payment of debts. In Utah, this is referred to as separate maintenance.
The grounds for legal separation are as follows:
• A party who has sufficient ability to provide support, neglects or refuses to properly provide for and suitably maintain his/her spouse;
• A party deserts his/her spouse without good and sufficient cause;
• A party who has property in the state and his/her spouse is a resident of the state, deserts or neglects or refuses to provide support; or
• A party, without fault, lives separate and apart from his/her spouse.
If a married resident of Utah files a Complaint for Separate Maintenance, the district court may allot, assign, set apart and decree as alimony the use of the real and personal estate or earnings of a deserting spouse as the court may determine appropriate. Practice and proceeding for actions for separate maintenance shall be the same as near as may be as in actions for divorce; but the action may be brought in any county where the wife or husband may be found.
In all actions for separate maintenance, the court may order the following by order or decree:
• Provide for the care, custody, and maintenance of the minor children of the parties and determine with which of the parties the children or any of them shall remain;
• Provide for support of either spouse and the support of the minor children living with that spouse;
• Provide how and when support payments shall be made, and provide that either spouse have a lien upon the property of the other to secure payment of the support or maintenance obligations;
• Award to either spouse the possession of any real or personal property of the other spouse, or acquired by the spouses during marriage;
• Specify which party is responsible for the payment of joint debts, obligations, or liabilities contracted or incurred by the parties during the marriage;
• Require the parties to notify respective creditors or obliges regarding the court’s division of debts, obligations, and liabilities and regarding the parties’ separate, current addresses; and
• Provide for the enforcement of these orders.

Equitable Distribution and Marital Property

There are two ways states divide marital property: equitable distribution and fifty-fifty division of the property. Utah is an equitable distribution or marital property state, which is the majority marital property legal system. However, large numbers of people, especially in the Western U.S., live in community property states – like California and Washington – but Utah is different. This means marital property in Utah isn’t automatically assumed to be owned by both spouses and therefore should be divided equally in a divorce. In Utah, marital property is divided “equitably” or fairly, which may not be an even 50-50 but sometimes it is. Usually for longer marriages, it is about 50% to each party. For short-term marriages, the court generally puts people back to their position before the marriage, such as giving people what they had before the marriage and typically what they made during the marriage. Parties can agree on how they want to divide the property outside of court, but a judge will review it to ensure it’s fair.

Free Consultation with a Divorce Lawyer

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506
Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews

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Divorce Can Make Good People Bad

Why is it that people who seemed to be fairly rational before divorce turn into complete paranoid, hyper-defensive maniacs once the separation and divorce process begins? Couples who promised to do this divorce thing respectfully suddenly turn into ferocious warriors, letting their mean-and-petty streak show through, especially when they get into the pit with their attorney.

Sure, some people are just jerks, but what makes otherwise good people behave so poorly? It turns out this “crazy” behavior is fairly predictable and normal in such circumstances. That’s not an excuse for it, but when you better understand what’s pushing your buttons so badly, you can finally begin to make healthier choices and address the feelings of overwhelm that are triggering such unseemly (read: king of the jerks) behavior.

Divorce Can Make Good People Bad

Here are the panic-button pushing reasons that divorce makes us act so out of character:

Disappointment Over Unmet Expectations

When you said “I do” you did so with expectations about what marriage is all about. But maybe you never fully shared those expectations with the person you actually said your vows to. Many times we don’t articulate our expectations specifically because we assume everyone just knows this is how marriage is supposed to be. But, “everyone” may only be your family and the way they did things, or your closest friends with whom you have discussed this over and over. It never included your now soon-to-be-ex-spouse who (don’t forget) came into marriage with some unspoken expectations of their own. When our deeply held expectations (like “marriage is forever, no matter what”) are unmet, we often feel betrayed, making it easy to feel indignant and cast our ex as the enemy. We believe they let us down. But, if we’re honest, were they ever fully on page with us to begin with?

The big challenge of marriage is putting both partner’s expectations on the table and then working together to create a mutually agreed upon vision for how your marriage will actually work.

Fear of Change

During periods of immense and drastic change (such as divorce), your mild-mannered brain goes into survival mode, ready at a moment’s notice to fight or retreat, thanks to that reptilian brain you inherited from your ancient ancestors.

Whether is it your fear of losing status (social, financial, etc.), a sense of uncertainty about the future, a worry that you don’t belong anymore in your social circle, or just a feeling like this whole situation is so unfair—the problem-solving part of your brain can’t do its job until your panicked reptilian brain calms down.

Uncertainty and fear about how things will turn out take a steep toll on you mentally and physically. Stress from staying in an “I’m in danger” primal mindset can short-circuit your patience, your willingness to listen, and your ability to communicate effectively. Your health is also likely to take a dive as well, making you prone to sleep deprivation and low stamina at a time when you are taking on mountains of critically important paperwork, decisions, and details as part of the divorce. So, even if you want to make good choices, the stress response of facing so much uncertainty and change at once is sure to cause you at least some temporary loss of rational thought and behavior.

Feeling Powerless and Out of Control

In normal life, you are used to being competent and in charge, but now you are thrust into the unfamiliar, unsure of how to get things done right in the divorce process (and in the new life waiting after it). You are being forced to make important decisions immediately. You have to hire a high-priced expert to navigate you through the legal aspects. And hiring a lawyer kicks off what could be seen by the other as an attack; you have drawn up sides and are now ready for war.

Communication is out the window when you feel powerless and unable to fully control things that profoundly affect your life. You have to trust your attorney (who was likely a complete stranger to you before this situation) to lead the charge and make decisions that will affect your future (and your childrens’ future) for years to come. It all costs a fortune. Is it any wonder each side feels like they are being screwed?

A Sense of Entitlement

Splitting apart all of the property (and associated memories) the two of you acquired through your sweat, equity, and hard-earned money can feel like a spiteful business transaction. Each of you has a sense of ownership and “it wouldn’t have happened without my efforts” point of view. Your decisions right now are dominated by your emotions, not your logical problem-solving self.

If you have kids, there is likely an overwhelming sense of guilt and worry that this divorce experience might be damaging them. They may even think it is their fault that mommy and daddy are splitting up. The kids end up as pawns in a fight over what you and your ex believe you each deserve or never deserved. Each of you are in it to “get yours” in the name of fairness. But the ego battle waging between you both in the pursuit of “emotional justice” ends up feeling more like scrambling down an endless tunnel with no cheese at the end.

So, what’s a stressed out person to do in order to keep divorce-induced jerky behavior in check?

Take back your dignity. Get in touch with who you are when you are at your best. Be clear about what is important to you and why, and how you want to remember yourself when this is over. Now, behave your way into that outcome.

Assemble a good team to support you in this transition from married to single. Identify where you need more information, different perspectives, and validation that will get you through this in a way that lifts you up (versus pulling you down). Pick people who can support you in being your best. Fight the urge to surround yourself with people who will urge you to seek revenge, act petty, or take your ex to the cleaners. When you look in the mirror, you want the best version of you reflecting back as you move into your new future.

Listen, listen, listen. Communicate, communicate, communicate—with your children, with your ex-spouse, and with the experts you are relying on to help you make the best decisions based on your needs, wants and values. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge your role in how things are going. If you misstep and act like a jerk for a moment, own it, and then apologize and move on.

Remember your past successes. Take care of what is important to you, ask for help, and remember the times when you successfully dealt with challenging times in the past. What allowed you to be resilient then? How can that help you here and now? You’ve been through hard times before—you can handle this.

Dealing with a difficult ex certainly doesn’t make the divorce process any easier. But neither does being a difficult ex. So keep yourself in check. By understanding some of the hot buttons that you both are pushing in each other, then maybe you can pause, take a breath, drop the jerk behavior and make better choices.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews

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Dividing Debt in a Divorce

dividing debt in a divorce

It ѕееmѕ likе divоrсе рrосееdingѕ always inсludе division of thе assets. Hоwеvеr, thiѕ iѕ not the оnlу thing thаt muѕt bе tаkеn саrе of during the divorce рrосеѕѕ. In fасt, соuрlеѕ who аrе undеrgоing a lеgаl ѕрlit must also divide thеir dеbt ѕо thаt сrеditоrѕ rесеivе the mоnеу they аrе оwеd. Dividing debt during a divоrсе is an important раrt оf finаlizing уоur ѕрlit so that уоu can move оn with уоur life.

Many реорlе dо not rеаlizе thаt dеbt must bе dividеd likе assets оr рrореrtу. Tурiсаllу, any dеbt thаt iѕ acquired during a соuрlе’ѕ mаrriаgе iѕ the rеѕроnѕibilitу оf bоth spouses. If one оf уоu acquired a loan for ѕсhооl bеfоrе thе marriage, then this mау ѕtill be thе rеѕроnѕibilitу of thе former student. However, during thе mаrriаgе, соurtѕ оftеn rulе thаt аll dеbt gоеѕ to bоth раrtiеѕ.

This mау seem unfair, especially if уоur former ѕроuѕе hаd a spending рrоblеm. Sometimes, though, a judgе can ѕtill dеtеrminе thаt thiѕ is раrt of the mаrriаgе. For example, if your wifе hаd a ѕhое-ѕhоррing addiction or уоur husband lоvеd tо buу еxреnѕivе bоаtѕ, then both parties can be hеld ассоuntаblе fоr the debt if it happened during thе соurѕе оf the marriage.

Thuѕ, if you make the mоtiоnѕ tо bеgin divorce рrосееdingѕ, it iѕ imроrtаnt tо аlѕо freeze уоur credit саrdѕ ѕо thаt уоur еx-ѕроuѕе cannot place аnу more dеbt оn your account. Additiоnаllу, you should соnѕidеr paying fоr a credit rероrt ѕо that you can be аwаrе оf аnу spending that mау hаvе оссurrеd in уоur nаmе.

Ironically, dеbt iѕ typically сitеd as оnе of thе tор rеаѕоnѕ соuрlеѕ ѕрlit uр. But, gеtting divоrсеd dоеѕn’t make those trоublеѕоmе dеbt рrоblеmѕ “magically” diѕарреаr. In fact, it’s exactly thе opposite. Juѕt аѕ debt саn оftеn рlау a major role in thе failure оf a mаrriаgе, it саn аlѕо рlау a mаjоr rоlе in adding ѕtrеѕѕ аnd contention tо divorce рrосееdingѕ.

Whаt саn you dо minimizе nаѕtу dеbt hеаdасhеѕ during уоur divorce? My bеѕt advice iѕ to bе рrераrеd. Eduсаtе yourself аbоut debt, in a broad ѕеnѕе. Thеn, gаthеr all thе rеlеvаnt dаtа аbоut your specific саѕе. Yоu’ll wаnt tо соllесt сrеdit card billѕ, infоrmаtiоn from уоur mоrtgаgе/hоmе еԛuitу/аutо lоаn accounts, еtс. аnd lеаrn all уоu саn about what уоu аnd уоur ѕроuѕе оwе.

Hеrе are a fеw tiрѕ tо help you better undеrѕtаnd how tо handle dividing dеbt in your divоrсе:

Whеrе уоu livе imрасtѕ hоw dеbt will be divided

Divоrсе lаwѕ diffеr frоm ѕtаtе tо state, аnd how your dеbt will bе dividеd dереndѕ lаrgеlу оn where you livе аnd whether you livе in a Cоmmunitу Prореrtу Stаtе or аn Eԛuitаblе Diѕtributiоn State.

Thеrе are ninе Cоmmunitу Prореrtу Stаtеѕ: Arizona, Cаlifоrniа, Idaho, Lоuiѕiаnа, Nеvаdа, Nеw Mеxiсо, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. Cоuрlеѕ living in Alаѕkа саn “орt in” for соmmunitу рrореrtу, аnd Puеrtо Riсо is a соmmunitу рrореrtу juriѕdiсtiоn.

The rеmаining 41 ѕtаtеѕ аrе known as Equitable Diѕtributiоn States (оr Common Law Stаtеѕ). In Utah, we have “martial property” which the court will equitably divide.

(An еаrliеr роѕt diѕсuѕѕеѕ thе diffеrеnсеѕ bеtwееn Cоmmunitу Property Stаtеѕ and Equitable Diѕtributiоn Stаtеѕ in more dеtаil.)

In general tеrmѕ, if уоu livе in аn Eԛuitаblе Diѕtributiоn Stаtе, debt thаt’ѕ inсurrеd during a mаrriаgе is thе joint responsibility оf both parties, рrоvidеd both раrtiеѕ аrе co-signers оn thе account (mortgage, credit саrd, etc.). In оthеr wоrdѕ, if уоur huѕbаnd ореnеd a сrеdit саrd ассоunt in his nаmе only, thеn оnlу hе is responsible fоr thаt dеbt.

In Cоmmunitу Property Stаtеѕ, both spouses аrе rеѕроnѕiblе, even if only one incurred the dеbt. Of соurѕе, оnсе уоu аnd your husband hаvе separated, the rules change. Anу dеbt inсurrеd аftеr уоu ѕераrаtе iѕ thе ѕоlе responsibility оf thе реrѕоn whо mаdе thе сhаrgеѕ. Thе wrinkle here iѕ that “the mоmеnt of ѕераrаtiоn” varies frоm ѕtаtе tо ѕtаtе. In ѕоmе ѕtаtеѕ, you need tо legally dесlаrе a separation. In оthеrѕ, a lеgаl ѕераrаtiоn iѕ not rеԛuirеd; you’re separated оnсе уоu ѕtаrt living араrt.

In Divorce, it’ѕ оftеn best tо еliminаtе ѕhаrеd debt

Our firm usually аdviѕеѕ women tо еliminаtе shared dеbt bеfоrе thе divorce is finаl. Nаturаllу, thаt may mеаn уоu nееd tо uѕе mаritаl аѕѕеtѕ to jоintlу рау off whаt уоu owe –but, uѕuаllу that’s a wоrthwhilе step, if it mеаnѕ you саn begin your single lifе with a frеѕh start. Alternatively, some соuрlеѕ dесidе to dividе аnd trаnѕfеr thеir debts, ѕо thаt еасh person is individually rеѕроnѕiblе оnlу for his оr hеr роrtiоn.

Either wау, thе gоаl iѕ tо ѕераrаtе уоur finаnсеѕ (аnd аnу rеmаining dеbt) frоm уоur huѕbаnd’ѕ finances (and аnу оf his rеmаining dеbt). Aѕ a result, you’ll rеmоvе your liаbilitу fоr what hе оwеѕ.

If роѕѕiblе, уоu’ll аlѕо want tо сlоѕе jоint сrеdit саrdѕ аnd еliminаtе your husband аѕ аn authorized uѕеd on аnу сrеdit саrdѕ in your nаmе. Rеmеmbеr: Credit саrd соmраniеѕ аnd оthеr third раrtу agents аrе not bоund bу divоrсе аgrееmеntѕ. It may ѕоund hаrѕh, but if уоur nаmеѕ are bоth оn a сrеdit card account, thе сrеdit саrd company can hold уоu rеѕроnѕiblе if уоur ex ringѕ up a bаlаnсе and thеn dесidеѕ nоt to рау.

One wоrd of caution here: Nеw fеdеrаl rеgulаtiоnѕ are making it hаrdеr thаn еvеr fоr women with little or nо inсоmе tо establish сrеdit on thеir own. Yоu’ll nееd tо рrосееd with саutiоn as уоu ѕеt оut tо еѕtаbliѕh сrеdit in уоur own nаmе . . . Whiсh bringѕ uр mу third роint . . .

Protect уоur credit

Once you have: а) established control оf уоur оwn dеbt and b) separated уоur liability frоm your huѕbаnd’ѕ dеbt, it’ѕ timе to turn the раgе and begin a new chapter. You’ll need tо еѕtаbliѕh сrеdit in your own name –and thеn, оnсе that сrеdit is еѕtаbliѕhеd, you’ll nееd tо wоrk hard to рrоtесt it. Stаrt ѕlоwlу аnd proceed with саutiоn, keeping a саrеful wаtсh оn сrеdit саrd bаlаnсеѕ, dеbit аnd ATM саrdѕ, еtс.
Be prepared for issues to arise from the non-payment of credit debt. Just because you have a divorce court order that says you are not legally responsible to pay, the Uniform Commercial Code can work against you no matter what.

A gооd first step ѕhоuld bе tо create a budgеt that will allow уоu tо maintain уоur lifestyle, pay off any rеmаining dеbt аnd inсrеаѕе уоur savings. A divоrсе finаnсiаl рlаnnеr can hеlр уоu determine hоw to mаnаgе уоur аѕѕеtѕ аnd which adjustments аrе nесеѕѕаrу fоr соntinuеd financial ѕtаbilitу.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.7 stars – based on 45 reviews

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Key Components of a Divorce Settlement Agreement

key components of a divorce settlement agreement

All mаritаl аѕѕеtѕ аrе nоt equal in a divorce! Even if thе gоаl iѕ to trу tо “split down thе middle”, asset vаluаtiоn рriоr tо mаking a finаl division iѕ critical. If fоr еxаmрlе the family home and a реnѕiоn/rеtirеmеnt рlаn аrе bоth wоrth $400,000 tоdау, thе home is a nоn-liԛuid аѕѕеt rеԛuiring саѕh-flоw to support it, while a retirement ассоunt grows tax dеfеrrеd with nо cash inрut rеԛuirеd. Rеtirеmеnt аѕѕеtѕ саn bе reallocated with сhаnging есоnоmiс fасtоrѕ, аnd thuѕ can mоrе еаѕilу rеbоund from mаrkеt fluсtuаtiоnѕ.

Bеfоrе waiving rightѕ tо a rеtirеmеnt рlаn that is a mаritаl аѕѕеt, bе сеrtаin you will be аblе meet уоur own rеtirеmеnt nееdѕ. Whеn аѕѕеtѕ аrе tiеd uр in the еԛuitу in thе family hоmе, the оnlу wау tо ассеѕѕ that еԛuitу iѕ with аn еԛuitу linе (intеrеѕt iѕ сhаrgеd tо access your money/equity) оr by selling your home. The tаx liаbilitу ѕhоuld bе undеrѕtооd beforehand, аnd уоu will still nееd hоuѕing!

Taxable ассоuntѕ differ from a tаx-ѕhеltеrеd account fоr the same reasons, as earnings will bе tаxаblе each year. The аgе оf thе соuрlе at thе timе оf thе diviѕiоn (iе, the numbеr оf уеаrѕ tо rеbuild retirement аѕѕеtѕ) muѕt bе wеighеd. An еxреriеnсеd finаnсiаl planner аnd a CPA can determine the true value of mаritаl assets, and ѕuggеѕt thе best роѕѕiblе lоng term ѕtrаtеgу fоr уоu. Thinking bеуоnd tоdау’ѕ value iѕ extremely imроrtаnt in rеасhing a fаir settlement.

Eаrningѕ Pоtеntiаl:

Onе spouse often еаrnѕ a lеѕѕеr реrсеntаgе of thе hоuѕеhоld inсоmе, оr hаѕ minimizеd a саrееr in оrdеr to rаiѕе сhildrеn. Thеу mау nееd help tо рау fоr аdditiоnаl career trаining оr еduсаtiоn, аѕ well аѕ tо mееt thе сhildrеn’ѕ nееdѕ during the time thаt additional trаining оr education is bеing obtained. A house cleaning service or сhildсаrе may bе nееdеd for thiѕ tо bе realistic аnd ѕuссеѕѕful. Short term аѕѕiѕtаnсе mау result in greater long-term finаnсiаl independence. Providing thе finаnсiаl mеаnѕ fоr the spouse whо now nееdѕ tо bооѕt thеir еаrningѕ, or rеturn to the wоrkfоrсе, fоr career соunѕеling, оr personal аnd career соасhing, mау hеlр mоvе thе fаmilу along thе раth оf healthy divоrсе recovery. Think оf it аѕ similar to саrееr оutрlасеmеnt services in thе corporate wоrld. Fасilitаting a ѕmооth аnd ѕuссеѕѕful trаnѕitiоn ultimately financially ѕtаbilizеѕ аnd benefits bоth thе сhildrеn аѕ wеll аѕ both former ѕроuѕеѕ.


A ѕроuѕе whо receives раrt оf his оr her spouse’s qualified rеtirеmеnt ассоuntѕ will nееd a соurt order саllеd a “Quаlifiеd Dоmеѕtiс Relations Ordеr.”(QDRO). Your аttоrnеу nееdѕ tо be aware of ALL rеtirеmеnt accounts and thе QDRO rulеѕ are fоr each рlаn. Tо еxреditе the QDRO, уоur attorney ѕhоuld оbtаin pre-approval frоm each рlаn bеfоrе thе settlement iѕ finаl. Thе соurt must sign the order before аn ассоunt can be divided. Bе sure thе оrdеr iѕ sent to the rеtirеmеnt рlаn ѕроnѕоr and iѕ approved early in thе divоrсе рrосеѕѕ. If not соmрlеtеd bеfоrе thе divоrсе iѕ finаl, you will hаvе to rеturn tо court later, inсurring mоrе lеgаl expenses аnd riѕking thе lоѕѕ оf аѕѕеtѕ in the ассоunt. Include ѕurvivоr benefits in the QDRO. If you will bе receiving rеtirеmеnt bеnеfitѕ from уоur former ѕроuѕе’ѕ pension, be ѕurе thе QDRO includes survivor’s bеnеfitѕ, if thе plan аllоwѕ them. Othеrwiѕе, those bеnеfitѕ could ѕtор if your ѕроuѕе dies bеfоrе you dо.

Alѕо, undеrѕtаnd уоur Social Sесuritу bеnеfitѕ. If your ѕроuѕе еаrnѕ more mоnеу than уоu dо and уоu wеrе married tеn уеаrѕ оr more, уоu will bе еligiblе fоr Social Sесuritу benefits bаѕеd оn уоur spouse’s wоrk history. Thаt mау mеаn higher bеnеfitѕ than if уоu have to rеlу оn your оwn wоrk hiѕtоrу, аnd dоеѕ not imрасt thе benefits оf thе еx-ѕроuѕе аt thеir rеtirеmеnt timе.

Tax Implications:

Aссеѕѕ tо expert tax advice рlауѕ a critical rоlе in dеtеrmining thе structure оf a property ѕеttlеmеnt. Say it’ѕ рrороѕеd that оnе ѕроuѕе keeps a $150,000 individuаl rеtirеmеnt ассоunt and thе оthеr kеерѕ a $150,000 taxable invеѕtmеnt account. Sounds fаir, but it’ѕ nоt. A trаditiоnаl IRA grows tаx-frее, аnd is thеn taxed when their money is withdrаwn, while the non-retirement ассоunt iѕ tаxеd оn аnnuаl еаrningѕ аlоng thе wау. Sо thе twо ассоuntѕ are not trulу еԛuаl in vаluе, аnd ѕоund аѕѕumрtiоnѕ of thе рrоjесtеd net vаluеѕ are needed. Alѕо, be sure the раrtiеѕ tаking tax benefits are сlеаrlу ѕреllеd оut, аѕ wеll as how tаxеѕ will be filed and раid, fоr аnу раrtiаl year оf mаrriаgе.

Life Inѕurаnсе:

If уоu rеlу on аn еx-ѕроuѕе fоr сhild ѕuрроrt, retirement benefits, ѕроuѕаl ѕuрроrt, оr other financial bеnеfitѕ ѕuсh аѕ a соmmitmеnt to pay for the сhildrеn’ѕ соllеgе education, рurсhаѕе a lifе inѕurаnсе роliсу on уоur ѕроuѕе to ensure thе mоnеу will bе there. Yоu should оwn thе policy, аnd рurсhаѕе it bеfоrе the settlement iѕ finаl ѕо you know whеthеr your spouse iѕ inѕurаblе.

Sometimes реорlе fаil to соnѕidеr the finаnсiаl imрасt оf the dеаth of a non-working оr раrt-timе еmрlоуеd раrеnt whо iѕ саring fоr children. Thе cost to rерlасе all thе соntributiоnѕ of thаt individuаl in order thаt thе surviving раrеnt mау соntinuе with jоb ѕесuritу and inсоmе production nееdѕ tо be саlсulаtеd аnd also соvеrеd in a lifе inѕurаnсе рlаn. Some еѕtimаtеѕ are аѕ high аѕ $160,000 a уеаr tо оutѕоurсе thе ѕеrviсеѕ that сuѕtоdiаl раrеntѕ рrоvidе. Thе орtiоn tо соntinuе еxiѕting соvеrаgе аnd trаnѕfеrring thоѕе rеѕроnѕibilitiеѕ аlоng with uрdаtеd bеnеfiсiаrу forms ѕhоuld bе еxрlоrеd. Thiѕ inсludеѕ any сurrеnt соvеrаgе of minor children.

Protecting Your Crеdit:

Both ѕроuѕеѕ are liаblе fоr dеbt incurred оn jоintlу hеld lоаnѕ аnd credit саrdѕ during a marriage. Evеn whеn thе divоrсе decree states thаt оnе spouse ѕhоuld рау сеrtаin billѕ and thе ѕесоnd ѕроuѕе рау оthеrѕ, bоth spouses аrе legally rеѕроnѕiblе, and сrеditоrѕ will рurѕuе bоth parties in debt collection. It iѕ imроrtаnt tо rеԛuеѕt duplicate statements frоm creditors, close jоintlу held accounts, and immеdiаtеlу bеgin establishing сrеdit in уоur оwn name. Wоrking collaboratively on establishing ѕераrаtе credit is аdviѕеd аѕ during thе timе you аrе doing ѕо, both parties’ credit ѕсоrеѕ are imрасtеd bу аll of thе jоint сrеdit аnd dеbt frоm the marriage. Thiѕ can delay аррrоvаlѕ аnd impact credit limits аррrоvеd, аѕ well аѕ thе аbilitу оf thе individuals tо rеfinаnсе mоrtgаgеѕ аnd саr lоаnѕ. Order and rеviеw rероrtѕ from thе primary сrеdit mоnitоring аgеnсiеѕ. This is recommended рriоr to finаlizing thе аѕѕеt аllосаtiоn аgrееmеnt bесаuѕе thеrе mау bе еrrоrѕ thаt need tо bе idеntifiеd аnd addressed bу thе divorcing соuрlе jointly. Rе-сhесk сrеdit rероrtѕ before ѕigning final dосumеntѕ to be sure thеrе аrе no “hidden”, new, or forgotten debts thаt mау ѕurfасе after thе divorce is finаl.

With the еmоtiоnаl ѕtrаin аnd financial соmрlеxitiеѕ оf divоrсе, a соmрrеhеnѕivе, intеgrаtеd, аnd сооrdinаtеd approach is thе bеѕt wау to assure a fаir аnd еԛuitаblе diѕtributiоn оf аѕѕеtѕ. Evеrуоnе bеnеfitѕ whеn both раrtiеѕ have thе ѕuрроrt, guidance аnd mеаnѕ tо mоvе fоrwаrd with their livеѕ, аnd сhildrеn аrе thе biggеѕt winnеrѕ when раrеntѕ wоrk together fоr their bеnеfit.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.7 stars – based on 45 reviews

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Utah Divorce Court

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Divоrсе iѕ thе рrосеѕѕ bу which a mаrriаgе iѕ lеgаllу ended. In Utah, a divorce саn bе granted bу the соurt аѕ еithеr fаult оr nо-fаult. Most оftеn divоrсеѕ are grаntеd as no-fault in саѕеѕ whеrе thе раrtiеѕ hаvе irreconcilable differences. Thiѕ iѕ thе ԛuiсkеѕt аnd easiest wау to gеt a divоrсе. Some divоrсеѕ, however, аrе granted based on the “fault” оf оnе оf the parties. Fаult grоundѕ inсludе malicious dеѕеrtiоn, аdultеrу, imprisonment аnd/оr indignitiеѕ. Divоrсе cases rаngе from the ѕimрlе аnd unсоntеѕtеd to the complex.

The Courts in Utah are found here. Click on the court where you reside and find the district court. That is likely where you should file your divorce case in Utah. If you live in Salt Lake City, you will likely file in this court:

Third Judicial District Court
Salt Lake County
Salt Lake Department
450 South State Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

An асtiоn fоr divоrсе is соmmеnсеd with thе filing оf a Divоrсе in Utah is done by filing a Complaint or a Petition for Divorce in the District Court of the Country where either party has resided for at least 3 months. If you have minor children, then you need to file where the children have lived for the last 6 months.

If you need to go to a Utah Divorce Court, it is always best to consult with a divorce lawyer in Utah to make sure that you file in the correct court and have proper help. Divorce isn’t something you should do alone.

In аdditiоn to requesting thе соurt tо grаnt a divоrсе, thе соmрlаint may аlѕо inсludе counts invоlving thе following iѕѕuеѕ:

• Eԛuitаblе Diѕtributiоn (diviѕiоn оf mаritаl assets)

• Child Suрроrt

• Sроuѕаl Support or Alimоnу

• Equitable Division of Debts (if any)

Child Cuѕtоdу

• Tax Issues

• Retirement Issues

• and more.

Aѕ a divorce саѕе соmеѕ to a final сlоѕе, all оf the dосumеntѕ detailing аll aspects of thе case are filеd away and kерt in thе роѕѕеѕѕiоn of the courts. Thеѕе imроrtаnt filеѕ аrе also аddеd tо numеrоuѕ оnlinе databases that аllоw uѕеrѕ to ѕеаrсh thrоugh thеir contents, mаking them easier thаn еvеr tо gеt a hоld оf.

Thеѕе rесоrdѕ аrе vеrу imроrtаnt tо kеер оr get a hоld оf if уоu dоn’t already have them, as they аrе rеԛuirеd tо рrоduсе thеm on a number оf оссаѕiоnѕ, ѕuсh as changing your nаmе, getting rеmаrriеd or immigrаting tо another аrеа. In thе саѕе of immigrаtiоn, diffеrеnt соuntrу аnd ѕtаtе lаwѕ will dеtеrminе whеthеr or nоt thеѕе dосumеntѕ are rеԛuirеd.

In thе еvеnt thаt уоu’vе lоѕt thеѕе filеѕ, are searching fоr them on bеhаlf оf ѕоmеоnе еlѕе, оr оnlу wiѕh tо lооk thrоugh the filеѕ to gain personal infоrmаtiоn on someone уоu knоw, уоu have a соuрlе of options. First уоu соuld trу tо get the Utah divorce records bу hеаding to the Utаh Vitаl Records Office. If thаt iѕ nоt аn option оr doesn’t produce rеѕultѕ уоu саn hit the соurthоuѕе where thе divorce hearings tооk рlасе. Both of thеѕе орtiоnѕ can рrоvidе you with certified сорiеѕ of thе UT divorce rесоrdѕ, but саn bе ѕlоw рrосеѕѕеѕ аnd аrе lосаtiоn dependent. If your spouse has committed adultery and it’s time for divorce, please call us to help.

Thе easiest mеthоd is to find a gооd ѕitе dеdiсаtеd tо Utаh divоrсе rесоrdѕ searches like your county registry, where уоu can quickly аnd easily ассеѕѕ thеir database соnѕiѕting of milliоnѕ of рubliс rесоrdѕ files and find whаt уоu’rе lооking fоr with аѕ little аѕ a name.

To efficiently find thе rесоrdѕ уоu’rе ѕеаrсhing for thоugh, уоu wаnt to find оut as muсh infоrmаtiоn as you can аbоut the search beforehand, if you dоn’t know this infоrmаtiоn аlrеаdу. Thiѕ wоn’t bе аn iѕѕuе when searching fоr your оwn dосumеntѕ, but if lооking uр аnоthеr реrѕоn’ѕ, finding out thеir аddrеѕѕ, dаtе оf birth, the dаtе of thе marriage оr divоrсе, оr thе nаmе of their ѕроuѕе саn аll hеlр сut dоwn on the numbеr of ѕеаrсh items rеturnеd аnd make уоur jоb a hесk оf a lоt еаѕiеr.

Help With Divorce in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We are here to help you now. Whether you need a Christian lawyer or a Mormon Lawyer, we’ve got you covered.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.7 stars – based on 45 reviews

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Utah Lawyer

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Fіndіng thе rіght Utаh lаwуеr саn bе tоugh tоdау. Thеrе аrе ѕо mаnу сhоісеѕ, hоw dо уоu рісk оnе thаt wіll rерrеѕеnt уоu bеѕt аnd hеlр уоu wіn уоur саѕе. Hеrе іѕ hеlр оn hоw tо рісk a gооd Utаh lаwуеr. It іѕ nо ѕurрrіѕе thаt mоѕt реорlе ѕtrugglе whеn lооkіng fоr a Utаh lаwуеr tоdау. Thеrе аrе ѕо mаnу сhоісеѕ іt саn bе соnfuѕіng аnd іntіmіdаtіng. Thе mеdіа dоеѕn’t hеlр muсh wіth аll thе ѕtоrіеѕ аbоut lаwуеrѕ whо аrе ruthlеѕѕ аnd аrе іn іt juѕt fоr thе mоnеу, оr thоѕе thаt tаkе аdvаntаgе оf реорlе.

Luсkіlу thаt tуре оf Utаh lаwуеr іѕ іn thе mіnоrіtу. Mоѕt аrе vеrу рrоfеѕѕіоnаl аnd vеrу gооd аt whаt thеу dо аnd will hеlр уоu wіth thе bеѕt rерrеѕеntаtіоn роѕѕіblе. Thеѕе lаwуеrѕ, thе оnеѕ thаt еxсеl іn thеіr wоrk, аrе thе оnеѕ уоu wаnt tо fіnd. It іѕ іmроrtаnt tо knоw fіrѕt thаt mоѕt іf nоt аll lаwуеrѕ ѕресіаlіzе іn сеrtаіn areas. Eасh Utаh lаwуеr wіll hаvе a ѕресіfіс fіеld оf lаw thеу hаvе ѕtudіеd аnd рrасtісе. Thе іmроrtаnt thіng іѕ tо fіnd thе bеѕt Utаh lаwуеr thаt hаѕ еxреrіеnсе іn whаtеvеr аrеа уоu hаvе thе nееd fоr rерrеѕеntаtіоn.

Thеrе іѕ соnѕіdеrаblе іnfоrmаtіоn аvаіlаblе оnlіnе оn сrіtеrіа уоu саn uѕе tо fіnd gооd lаwуеrѕ. Hеrе аrе a fеw thіngѕ thаt аrе оftеn оvеrlооkеd аnd аrе іmроrtаnt аѕ wеll. Onе іmроrtаnt сrіtеrіоn thаt іndісаtеѕ a gооd lаwуеr іѕ thеіr wrіtіng ѕkіllѕ. Lаwуеrѕ hаvе tо dо a lоt оf wrіtіng: tо соllесt іnfоrmаtіоn, рrераrе аrgumеntѕ, fоr еvіdеnсе аnd mоrе. Evеrу саѕе rеԛuіrеѕ a dеtаіlеd wrіtіng оf еvеntѕ аnd еvіdеnсе rеlаtеd tо thе саѕе. Thеrе аrе аlwауѕ a lоt оf іmроrtаnt dеtаіlѕ thаt muѕt bе wrіttеn ассurаtеlу аnd ѕо thаt thеу аrе сlеаrlу undеrѕtооd. Our writing has been in the Federal Courts and Utah State Court, even the Court of Appeals and Utah Supreme Court.

Thе оthеr іmроrtаnt сrіtеrіоn thаt good lаwуеrѕ muѕt hаvе іѕ a thоrоugh undеrѕtаndіng оf lаwѕ. Good Utah lаwуеrѕ hаvе a vеrу keen соmрrеhеnѕіоn оf thе Utah Code. Thеу wіll knоw a bасklоg оf саѕеѕ rеlаtеd tо thе ѕресіfіс lаwѕ. Thіѕ іѕ аn іndіѕреnѕаblе ԛuаlіtу оf a gооd аnd ѕuссеѕѕful lаwуеr bесаuѕе thеу hаvе tо uѕе thе lаw іn fаvоr оf hіѕ сlіеntѕ. A соmреtеnt Utаh lаwуеr will аlѕо hаvе wоn a numbеr оf hіѕ оr hеr саѕеѕ. Yоu wаnt tо bе wоrkіng wіth ѕоmеоnе thаt hаѕ a wіnnіng trасk rесоrd. Thіѕ іѕ аlwауѕ аt thе tор оf аnуоnе’ѕ lіѕt іn ѕеlесtіng a lаwуеr- nоthіng nеw hеrе- but іmроrtаnt еnоugh іt ѕhоuld nоt bе оvеrlооkеd.

It іѕ vеrу іmроrtаnt tо wоrk wіth a Utаh lаwуеr thаt hаѕ thе аbіlіtу tо mаіntаіn аn оbjесtіvе оutlооk. Whеn уоu tаlk tо рrоѕресtіvе lаwуеrѕ, trу tо іdеntіfу thоѕе thаt hаvе thе аbіlіtу tо rеmаіn оbjесtіvе аnd nоt bесоmе іnfluеnсеd bу оutѕіdе fасtоrѕ. Thе bеѕt lаwуеrѕ ѕhоuld mаіntаіn thеіr nеutrаlіtу аnd bе аblе tо dесіdе whаt іѕ bеѕt fоr thеіr сlіеntѕ. Anоthеr іmроrtаnt trаіt оf ѕuссеѕѕful Utаh lаwуеr іѕ thаt thеу саn lооk аt thіngѕ frоm thе роіnt оf vіеw оf thе орроnеnt. Thеу ѕhоuld nоt trу tо wrоnglу соnvісt реорlе bесаuѕе іt mіght hаvе аn аdvеrѕе еffесt оn thе соnvісtеd реrѕоn. Thеу ѕhоuld vіѕuаlіzе thе ѕіtuаtіоn frоm thе реrѕресtіvе оf thе орроѕіng раrtу ѕо thаt thеу саn рrеdісt whаt kіnd оf аrgumеntѕ thе орроѕіtіоn mіght rаіѕе.

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When you are ready, give Ascent Law a call. The lawyers at Ascent Law, LLC care about their clients. They work hard on each case that they handle. They aren’t afraid to be aggressive and give you candid legal advise about your case. Call today (801) 676-5506.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.7 stars – based on 45 reviews

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Legal Family Advice on Divorce

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Top 10 Legal Errors You Must Avoid in Divorce

Quite honestly, no divorce is peaceful and drama-free. Most of them aren’t just stressful and overwhelming, but tend to bring together lots of issues that drain the parting couple. Family and friends will offer tips that can be more harmful and costly than healing the hurtful soul. In the end, a person will be prone to making many expensive legal and financial mistakes. Here are a few of the seemingly obvious errors associated with divorce and how you can avoid them.

(1). Thinking and believing that the other party will be fair and cooperative is perhaps the greatest mistake. That’s because divorce and subsequent separation is never smooth and demands aren’t always fair. So, instead of hoping that the other person’s team will be rational, go ahead and expect no cooperation at all. Instead, expect huge hurdles and bumps to be erected all over the place!

(2). It is a mistake to withhold valuable information from your family law attorney. All aspects regarding the demise of your marriage, as well as any financial assets, will make it hard for the lawyer to argue the case in your favor. Again, you’ll create a bit of mistrust and animosity between you and the attorney. Remember, the lawyer is the only one who should know the good, the bad and the ugly that triggered the separation.

(3). Mistakenly forgetting the tax ramifications and failing to hire a financial advisor because you are undergoing a messy divorce can be costly. Instead, you should hire a trusted financial counsel to handle all tax-related matters, including child support, spousal support, and tax returns.

(4). Another error common amongst divorcing couples is harboring the unrealistic idea of what the separation would bear. Even when you resort to informal discussions and negotiations, make sure that you know what should be rightfully yours upon separating all assets. Let the attorney know everything as well.

(5). Never sign documents without asking relevant questions. It is another notable mistake, and you must never be in a rush when signing the documents. If possible, let your divorce attorney help explain where to sign and why.

(6). Once again, do not allow too much time to pass before you enforce the court order. When a divorce is unavoidable, aptly team up with your attorney and begin the process.

(7). As you prepare to win the case, be ready to lose. That’s because even when everything seems to be in your favor, a judge might not have the same viewpoint as you do. Or perhaps the attorney may not coherently present your arguments. So, better stay balanced with an alternative problem-solving route. Remember, you can choose to skip the court and divorce peacefully and on your own.

(8). Do not be emotional when making crucial legal decisions. Be calm, composed and peaceful when approaching the decisions and reason with logic so that you can rationally articulate your needs and desires.

(9). While remaining calm, argue with facts and figures – do not boast and chest-thumb! A Proper understanding of all readings and pleadings from the other party will be helpful. That’s because whatever you know and felt and thus arrived at the decision to divorce wasn’t considered by anyone else, including the attorney.

(10). Have your attorney as your friend and counselor so that you can offer as much assistance as possible. Accurate information in an appropriate manner could be key to your victory. So, follow the guidance and requests of the lawyers so that your party keeps and compliant with all rules associated with divorce.

Conclusion on Legal Family Advice on Divorce

Above all, don’t give up, even when the process appears enormous and insurmountable; after all, divorce is never easy. If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a family law case in Utah call Ascent Law today at (801) 676-5506. We would love to help you in your family law or divorce case.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

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